Over eight days, my daughter and I voyaged from Paris to London, through Bruges, looking for a little slice of Christmas magic. We were hot on the heels of stunning Christmas lights, markets and anything else that gave us the feeling of joie de vivre in the gorgeous city. If you’re thinking of spending Christmas in Paris, here’s my best recommendations of what not to miss.
Your first stop? Peruse the beautiful street light displays, the major department stores and the Parisian Christmas markets. Day une for us included a trip to Printemps and Gallerie Lafayette (check out this stunning full moon):
Printemp Christmas Display
The designers were obviously channelling a spring theme with their trees, decked out extensively in florals and pine picks, and dotted with baubles. The intricacy in the detail was so superior to anything we get back home (even in our top department stores) and it gave me major inspiration to take back for my clients.
The trees met you at every point you turned in the store and culminated in a giant tree display. The window displays, from the outside, were perfectly whimsical and fun, with a mannequin-puppet theme running throughout. And, even though they weren’t a Christmas store per se, their attention-to-detail was obvious.
Largely, they were focused more on product lines, with my favourite awarded to Jimmy Choo - a themed-Jimmy Choo tree and puppets dancing at a disco window. What a way to sell shoes!
Where our department stores can put a feather in their cap, however, is with dedicated Christmas decoration shops (like ours). The top-floor of Printemps consisted of four-themed trees with about 20 decoration varieties for each one. Perhaps the Parisian consumer doesn’t spend a lot on decorations? Either way, that was a little disappointing.
Gallerie LaFayette Christmas Display
The second stop was the Gallerie LaFayette, which offered a winter wonderland theme to passers-by. Polar bears were the mascot animal of the season, with the massive atrium Christmas tree as the secondary feature.
Marionettes with intricate moving components made up the window displays, created with most delicate papier you’ve ever seen - it was quite extraordinary. The awnings were heavily lit with fairy lights and garlands - setting the scene beautifully for the displays within.
Smaller displays, including paper lanterns and snow-dusted trees, had been set up, as well, throughout the store.
And for the uninitiated, don’t miss Gallerie LaFayette’s stunning lead-light dome atrium in the main building, at least 8-storeys high. Through the middle, a white paper Christmas tree peeks through - a gorgeous final sight before stepping back out into the cold air.
Meandering along the cobbled streets, it's easy to understand why so many people come here to find something special - it has a real magic about it, enhanced by the season and the merriment in the air.
What are your thoughts on the displays you’ve seen? What was Christmas in Paris like for you when you visited? I’d love for you to share your thoughts with me and the team. And - as always - you can see a lot of the influence of my trips across the designs in our store. If you have any questions about how we might recreate the perfect Parisian Christmas in your home, why don't you book a one-on-one consultation with our team?
Au revoir and Joyeux Noel!